24/05/16 - 12:40
Bressanone - Andalo
Giro d'Italia • Stage16

Bressanone - Andalo

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But the biggest smile is on this chap's face... Steven Kruijswijk now leads this Giro by three whole minutes over his nearest rival.


So, it's first of all congratulations to this chap, who proved it's never too late to expand one's collection...


LottoNL-Jumbo's Steven Kruijswijk now holds a lead of 3:00 over Esteban Chaves on GC, with Valverde leapfrogging Nibali into third at 3:23. Nibali is 4:43 down, with Zakarin up to fifth at 4:50.


Nibali comes home 1:45 down on Valverde and will loose another huge chunk of time after his ITT nightmare on Sunday. It's fair to say that the 2013 champion won't be returning to the top of the podium in 2016...


It looks like Jungels is the first of the chasers to come home after Chaves tailed off towards the end of the stage. The Colombian comes home 43 seconds down - enough to retain his second place on GC.


Zakarin forced to settle for third place, coming home 8 seconds down. But he'll bound up the overall standings tonight.


That's a third runner-up spot for Kruijswijk, but the Dutchman will be happy - he's extended his lead today in the fight for pink.


So, a victory to the Spanish veteran Valverde, who at 36 is making his first appearance in the Giro d'Italia. He was the logical choice for the win today, having kept quiet and used his superior kick in the finale.


Alejandro Valverde eases to a maiden Giro stage win ahead of Kruijswijk!


Under the flamme rouge go the leaders and it's Zakarin driving to the line - he's thinking about returning to the peloton and less about the stage win...


Zakarin leads the three leaders off the climb and they're now on the false flat towards the finish. Now it's all about the stage win...


Kruijswijk and Valverde have never won a stage on the Giro while Zakarin tasted victory in last year's race. One of these three will win today - and you'd expect it to be the Spanish veteran because there'll be a flat sprint to the line.


Nibali now over a minute behind the leading trio as Chaves leads the chase from the second group...


The deficit is growing for Nibali, who clearly doesn't have the legs in this race. He and Pozzovivo look like a couple of overweight club riders on a Sunday jolly.


The leaders have 25 seconds over the Chaves group and 45 seconds over Nibali.


Yes, here's Firsanov, with Lopez and Ulissi. They have joined the other chasers, but Pozzovivo and Nibali are still off the pace.


Jungels has caught Majka and Chaves on the descent, but NIbali and Pozzovivo are still behind. In fact, Firsanov is probably somewhere in between.


Here's what they have in store - nothing too demanding, but after today's frantic stage, there could be some time gaps.


There's a short descent now before the final 6km climb to the finish. Majka and Chaves have joined forces chasing down this leading trop. Zakarin urges Kruijswijk to come through and pull - a bit rich given the fact that the Dutchman took maximim points over that previous climb.


NIBALI DROPPED: The Italian can't deal with this double-digit ramp and he's left for dead by Chaves and Jungels. Pozzovivo also struggling. Meanwhile, the others have all gone over the top...


Zakarin leads the trio onto the steep ramp near the top of this climb - it ramps up to 15% here, and it's Kruijswijk who takes up the baton and moves to the front. Valverde has been very quiet on this climb so far.


Here's the profile of this climb, which is both steepest and most lenient near the top. Chaves has upped the tempo from behind, to open up a small gap. He must feel that the gap is bridgable.


Kruijswijk's shoulders are extraordinary. He looks like Sponge bob dipped in candy floss on a bike. The gap is still 25 as Nibali and Chaves set the tempo after a long pull by Jungels.


The gap is now 25 seconds so it looks like the win will be decided between the leading trio. Zakarin continues to be the driving forced - as he might. The situation couldn't be much better for Kruijswijk.


The Nibali group is about to be joined by the Chaves group - that may save the Italian national champion. They trail the leaders by 20 seconds, with Nibali, Zakarin and Kruijswijk looking strong.


Nbali has been joined by Lopez and Jungels, as well as Firsanov. That sums it up really: this is not a vintage Nibali at all. They're 16 seconds down. Further back, Ulissi has been caught by Chaves, Pozzovivo and Majka.


Nibali now has Firsanov to help pace him back as an unlikely Gazprom-Astana alliance forms. They trail the leading trio by about 10 seconds. The Chaves group is about 30 seconds back.


Now Valverde has a dig! Kruijswijk manages to follow - as does Zakarin, who goes straight to the front because Nibali looks to be in trouble...


An attack by Zakarin and Lopez is covered by Kruijswijk, who looks in supreme form once again. Nibali keeps to his tempo to ultimately close the gap, but the Dutch man in pink once again shows that he has the accelleration and form.


Kangert peels off and comes to a near standstill - his work for the day is done. Behind, it's Chaves, Pozzovivo and Majka chasing down the leaders - they're within 15 seconds now.


Chaves comes to the front of the chasing group straight away to whittle down its composition dramatically. If Cannondale did pull Dombrowski from the front, it was a big mistake because Uran has already been dropped...


Tanel Kangert has done a monster of a ride today and it's the Estonian who sets the tempo for Nibali on the front of the leading group.


We're onto the Cat.2 Fai della Paganella climb (10km at 7%). Expect fireworks aplenty...


The gap is still 42 seconds for this nine-man leading group, who are now approaching the second of three climbs. The main pack, which incudes the blue jersey Damiano Cunego, is another three minutes back.


They're still 10 minutes faster than the fastest predicted time by the race organisers, so it's fair to say it could well explode on these final two climbs. The gap is up to 42 seconds now, which is the longest it's been, so this leading group of favourites is piling on the pressure on Uran, Chaves and Majka.


Dombrowski back with the second group now as Cannondale help out with Tinkoff and Orica in the chase: their riders Uran, Majka and Chaves all missed the split and are losing time here. But the gap is still just under 40 seconds.


There's a split in the front group as Ulissi, Kruijswjik, Valverde, Nibai, Kangert and Kakarin edge clear. Firsanov, Lopez and Jungels manage to bridge the gap but Dombrowski cannot do what's enough, and curses loudly before dropping back. Of course, there's always the suggestion that he's been called back to help pace back Rigo Uran, who is in the second group along with about five other Cannondale riders.


The riders zip past a spectacular gorge flanked by vineyards. Howsen and Plaza still bury themselves for team-mate Chaves but they cannot being the gap down.


Ulissi beats Valverde and Nibali in the intermediate sprint, so they've won back some bonus seconds there. Kangert and Jungels then come to the front and combine to take the gap back out to 38 seconds.


The riders are approaching the second intermediate sprint at Cles. The Chaves group is under 30 seconds down now but they've been working hard and many have been shelled off the back.


Kangert closed down Jungels' attack and the pair are about to be caught by the other eight leaders. Back with the second group on the road, Chaves is off the back to pick up a fresh water bottle. He doesn't look very comfortable - perhaps he's suffering from some kind of Landa-style rest day illness?


Chaves being paced back on by Orica-GreenEdge team-mate Damien Howsen. Also in this group are the likes of Amador, Taaramae, Scarponi and Fuglsang, as well as Uran and Majka. They're still 38 seconds down.


Fresh bidon of water for Steven Kruijswijk from the neutral service car. The Dutchman will be hoping he doesn't have a mechanical today because he's isolated now and has no team-mates anywhere near him.


The stage is currently running about 20 minutes ahead of schedule - so that goes to show just how fast they're rolling along. The Uran-Chaves-Majka chasing group is 40 seconds down now, with a pack containing Cunego, the blue jersey, one minute back.


Bob Jungels, the white jersey, has ridden clear of the other escapees on this descent through vineyards. The Luxembourg rider is 11:34 ahead of Seb Henao in the youth standings so looks like he'll keep that white jersey all the way to Turin.


Valverde not happy that the pace has come down since the two groups came together - he stands something to gain by putting in time on those who have been distanced. This is a 10-man group and Nibali has Astana team-mate Kangert here with him, so he's got an advantage.


The Nibali group has joined forces with the leaders and they're riding 35 seconds ahead of Chaves, Uran and Majka.


Chaves, Majka and Uran have been distanced going over the top and on the start of this descent. Nibali's aggressive riding doing the required job - although he could do with shedding that man Kruijswijk...


I'm guessing he means Valverde and Nibali on the one side and Kruijswijk and Chaves on the other...


The break go over the summit and it looks like Lopez took maximum points ahead of Firsanov. Nibali leads the others over the summit 21 seconds in arrears, with Valverde right on his back wheel.


SHARK ATTACK: Vincenzo Nibali makes his move near the summit to open up a small gap. Kruijswijk and Valverde lead the chase ahead of Majka, Zakarin and some of the others. Chaves has been very quiet so far.


It's really strung out on this Alpe d'Huez-style series of hairpins. Scarponi and Nibali are right with Kruijswijk, who closed down the move from Zakarin. Meanwhile, Joe Dombrowski has managed to edge clear of a small chasing group that incudes Colombians Seb Henao (Sky) and Darwin Atapuma (BMC). The Cannondale rider is almost with the leaders.


Another attempt by Katusha to get in the mix as Zakarin comes to the front with a team-mate before said team-mate breaks clear. Not sure who it is as yet... ah, it's Rein Taaramae. but Zakarin is trying to bridge over, and that draws out once again the maglia rosa.


Valerio Conti is the latest rider to launch clear. He has a Lampre-Merida team-mate (Ulissi) in the leading group so this could be a good move for the Italian team.


Jungels and Firsanov have managed to join Kangert, Lopez and Ulissi. The five leaders have 25 second over the maglia rosa group. Here's the profile of this climb...


Rigoberto Uran attacks and it's covered by Kruijswijk and Nibali. Valverde then joins the trio just as Jungels powers past them all. Majka, Zakarin and Chaves are all lurking but rely on it coming back together organically rather than dancing off in pursuit.


Very unsettled so far as Zakarin tries again to break clear, followed by Bob Jungels, the white jersey. Kruijswijk has it all covered and it calms down again to allow Sergey Firsanov to edge clear.


Mechanical for Nibali, who needs to swap back wheels with an Astana team-mate. It's no huge issue for the Italian champion, who dances his way back with the main GC riders. Actually, we've seen a replay - it wasn't a wheel chain, but a problem once again with his chain.


Zakarin has been given the elbow by Kangert and Lopez, and the Russian is back in the pack. Diego Ulissi rides in pursuit of the two leaders, while a few other individuals try their luck - including Visconti, Cunego and a rider each from Ag2R-La Mondiale, Gasprom and Cannondale.


Lopez has joined Kangert and Zakarin. Nibali, it's worth adding, is riding well back in the main pack alongside Chaves - they don't seem too concerned.


Now Lopez manages to break clear - just before Valverde puts in a big acceleration after a stint on the front by Fuglsang of Astana. It's all happening. As a result, Kruijswijk seems to have lost his last LottoNL-Jumbo team-mate.


ZAKARIN ATTACKS! The Russian from Katusha pings off the front and takes Tanel Kangert of Astana with him. Initially Alejandro Valverde tried to bridge the gap, but the maglia rosa was having nothing off it. Lopez's attack comes to nothing as he's passed by Zakarin and Kangert.


David Lopez of Team Sky exploits a slight lull to jump clear of the pack after sharing some words with his former Movistar team-mates.


Anton looks like his time is up and the Spaniard is about to be brought back. Meanwhile, LottoNL-Jumbo are fighting fire with fire by putting one man and Kriujswijk right on the front, to combat some savage pace-setting by Andrey Amador of Movistar.


Astana and Movistar are on the front of this pack, which has not given Anton much leeway. Kruijswijk, the maglia rosa, is there with a few LottoNL-Jumbo team-mates, but a brief conversation between Nibali and Valverde is perhaps a precursor to what may happen on this climb...


There's an attack from Igor Anton of Dimension Data, the Spanish veteran attempting to win his team's first stage on this Giro.


They've started the first climb of the day, the Cat.2 Passo della Mendola (14.8km at 6.5%), and the break has been swept up as expected. Four riders had broken clear - including Stefano Pirazzi and Steven Clarke - but they were reeled in.


So, the 12 riders are: Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF), Daniel Oss and Joey Rosskopf (BMC), Simon Clarke (Cannondale), Matteo Trentin (Etixx-QuickStep), Olivier Le Gac (FDJ), Pim Ligthart (Lotto Soudal), Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff), Marco Coledan (Trek-Segafredo), Roger Kluge (IAM), Eugert Zhupa (Wilier-Southeast) and Amets Txurruka (Orica-GreenEdge). But the gap is minimal ahead of this climb...


Ewan does not appear to be in this break, so perhaps the organisers made a mistake and mistook him for his Orica-GreenEdge team-mate Txurruka? Either way, this 12-man break has an advantage of 45 seconds after the chasers managed to bridge the gap.


Coledan won the intermediate sprint ahead of Trentin, Oss and Ligthart. Caleb Ewan was fifth, suggesting the Australian has either battled into the break, or was the first rider in the pack to cross the line. All will be more obvious once TV coverage gets under way very soon.


Zhupa has been dropped by the leaders and is riding in pursuit with two riders, Roger Kluge (IAM) and Amets Txurruka (Orica-GreenEdge). The gaps are pretty minimal and will be irrelevant once this first climbs comes up.


Just 30 seconds for the leaders as they approach the first intermediate sprint of the day, at Bolzano. A reminder that Italy's Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) leads the red jersey standings with 138 points, with compatriot Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) his nearest opponent on 112 points.


Elsewhere, the 'word on the street' is that we may see some cross-team alliances today as the team-mates of Messrs Nibali and Valverde try to pressure on the likes of Kruijswijk and Chaves, whose LottoNL-Jumbo and Orica-GreenEdge teams are not best suited to supporting their men in the mountains.


Other riders in this group include Joey Rosskopf (BMC), Matteo Trentin (Etixx-QuickStep), Oliver Le Gac (FDJ), Pim Ligthart (Lotto Soudal) and Marco Coledan (Trek-Segafredo).


No Astana riders in this group of a dozen or so escapees but they gap is only 20 seconds and the race is bound to blow apart properly on the Passo della Mendolo.


Those five riders are joined by 10 others but the pace in the peloton is high and they're not being granted much leeway. It's a fast opening as expected as the route zips downhill ahead of the first climb, which at this rate they'll reach well within the hour.


ATTACK: Mirco Maestri (Bardiani), Daniel Oss (BMC), Simon Clarke (Cannondale), Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff) and Eugert Zhupa (Wilier-Southeast) have pinged off the front.


American tyro Joe Dombrowsky, currently 34th on GC after some aggressive days in the Dolomites and Friuli, has made a predition about today's stage on the Giro, claiming it "will be the best stage of the race on television. Guarantee it blows to bits." You heard it here (or Twitter) first...


If you read Gazzetta dello Sport this morning you'll see that Astana are apparently planning to attack from the outset, sending Michele Scarponi and Jakob Fuglsang up the road to pave the way for Vincenzo Nibali. "We attack from the very beginning", Scarponi said after the Sunday's setback for Nibali in the ITT.


They're off! The final phase of the 99th Giro d'Italia is under way...


To many of us today's stage may seem like an extension, perhaps, of the rest day, but if the rumours are believed, there are some riders out there who are quite nervous...


The remaining 163 riders have just rolled out of Bressanone and have started the neutral zone of this stage ahead of the official start. One non-starter: David de la Cruz of Etixx-QuickStep, who has a fever.


It's nice to see that Kruijswijk is on his normal blue Bianchi today and not the blue/pink monstrosity that he rode so efficiently on Sunday's time trial - on which he came within a second of winning the stage over the surprise Russian package, Alexander Foliforov.


A reminder that Italian veteran Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini) still leads the king of the mountains classification with 134 points. His nearest rival in the battle for blue is Austria's Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling) on 72 points, closely followed by Darwin Atapuma (BMC) on 69.


Having come undone on the Alpe di Siusi by a combination of a dropped chain, errant fans and his own fatigue, Vincenzo Nibali has high hopes of bouncing back this week before the finish next Sunday in Turin. Can he still win this race? Time will tell.


So, it's the flame-haired Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk who takes a 2:12 lead over Colombia's Esteban Chaves going into the final phase of the race. After his horror show on Sunday's time trial, Vincenzo Nibali drops to third at 2:51 while Alejandro Valverde's solid time trial sees him up to fourth at 3:29. The top five is completed by Rafal Majka, who is 4:38 down.


Today's stage does not start until 12:35 BST because of it's bite-size profile. But don't let that put you off - there are three climbs on the agenda, including the 15km-long Passo della Mendola, which has an average gradient of 6.5% and peaks at 10%. It's definitely a day for a break to get away - and stay out - but it remains to be seen if the GC favourites come out and play, or keep their powder dry for some of the bigger Alpine stages later in the week.


On Sunday, Steven Kruiswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) blew away his rivals in the third and final Giro d'Italia time-trial from Castelrotto to Alpe di Siusi as 2013 champion Vincenzo Nibali suffered a series of setbacks that left him far off the pace on Sunday. The Dutchman, riding a pink-tinged bike, extended his overall lead after finishing second to surprise stage winner Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-RusVelo) of Russia.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia as the race resumes after the third rest day with a short but sharp 132km stage to the ski resort of Andalo on the Paganella plateau.